Ok, I’ve got to bring up something that I’ve seen that absolutely drives me crazy: describing a pony as “minty”. Don’t get me wrong–I love Minty the pony. The title of this More »
After spending a bit of time on Ebay (ok, maybe
a lot more time than I should…) trying to find ponies, I came to notice certain “trends” among Ebay sellers. Maybe you, too, can relate to some of these gems:
Dear Ebay Sellers,
1) Thanks to your collective efforts, I am now utterly immune to the words “rare”, “scarce”, “hard to find”, “vintage”, and their variants, particularly when presented in all caps. I don’t think it means what you think it means…
2) It is really not helping your case when you put popular search terms into the titles of completely unrelated items. Your kitchenware seriously has nothing to do with bronies, I swear.
3) If your photo is poorly lit, blurry, or in some other way presents your item at less than its best, you’re going to get skipped over. End of story.
4) Yes, I noticed when your absurdly under-priced pony was accompanied by a $50 shipping fee. No, I was not impressed.
5) It’s great that you want to show off your “rare”, “hard-to-find”, “vintage”, “scarce” collectibles by placing a picture on Ebay. However, wouldn’t we all be better off if you just posted it to Flickr instead of listing your $2.99 pony at $299.00 for all of us to admire? Seriously, this is not the World of Warcraft Auction House.
6) I’m sure that your life is very, very hard, and that we should all give you as much of our money as possible. I’ll get right on overpaying for your pony collection in order to help your child with a broken arm and a cancer diagnosis go to college after saving the family dog who was run over by a tugboat when you got laid off from your job and had to give up your prized spoon collection that’s been in the family for 5 generations…that is, just as soon as I recover from my equally long list of hardships.
7) When you list an item for sale, I want to see your item. Catalog pictures and photos stolen from collectors’ sites tell me nothing whatsoever about your product, no matter how “mint” you imagine it to be.
8) Buying items brand new in the store, on Amazon, or direct from Hasbro’s publicly available website, and then immediately listing them on Ebay for double what you just paid might not be the most profitable of all strategies. Just sayin’.
9) A single item does not constitute a “lot”, and two items do not constitute a “HUGE LOT!!!!!!!”.
10) Would it kill you to run a spell check?
11) The minimum threshold for an antique item is 100 years or more since its manufacture. Anything newer than that can potentially be considered “collectible” or “vintage”, but it is not antique. In a related note: I am not yet 30 years old. Toys I played with as a child (such as “My Little Pony”) cannot by any stretch of the imagination be considered “antique”. Stop aging me!
12) I don’t care if your pony sticker is the rarest, oldest, prettiest pony sticker in all of Hasbro’s storied history; I’m not paying $50 for it. At the end of the day, it’s still just a sticker.
If you would be so kind as to apply even a portion of these notes, I’m certain that you will successfully harvest even more of my hard-earned cash for the jun—um, lovely collectibles that you list on Ebay’s hallowed pages. Thank you for
feeding my addictions your time and consideration.
Ok, I’ve got to bring up something that I’ve seen that absolutely drives me crazy: describing a pony as “minty”.
Don’t get me wrong–I love Minty the pony. The title of this blog is actually an in-joke about her. The problem comes when someone lists a pony for sale: “G1 Firefly Pegasus Very Minty!!!”
Well is she Firefly or is she Minty? Joking aside, I know what these sellers intend to say. They’re trying to tell you that the pony is in “mint” or “near mint” condition. The problem with that is that it blurs the lines for collectors trying to make an informed purchase.
New collectors might not be aware that there’s a whole scale of collectible descriptions, known as “grades”. These terms have actual, specific meanings, but they tend to be thrown around rather loosely by sellers. Let’s take a look at grades and what they mean.
Mint: The best condition a collectible can possibly be in, as if it were just removed from the package. Note that some toys can come with factory flaws that actually make them less-than-mint even if they are still in the package.
Near Mint: As if the collectible was just removed from the package, but it has one or two small, unnoticeable flaws. Minor factory flaws such as small paint splatters or mold marks may place a pony in this category.
Excellent: Still in great condition with a couple, hard-to-see flaws, or a small amount of wear. A pony like this should still be pretty hard to distinguish from a near mint pony.
Very Good: May have a bit more play wear, or a few more unnoticeable flaws, or perhaps one more noticeable flaw. Minor glitter loss would be an example of such a flaw on a pony.
Good: A couple noticeable flaws or some significant play wear, but no serious damage. A pony in this condition might be missing a medium amount of glitter, or have rubs to its paint, or some discolored spots (such as those caused by sun fading).
Fair: A mostly-intact piece that has substantial play wear or several noticeable flaws. More serious discoloration, a missing hair plug, a child’s name written on the bottom of a hoof, etc.
Poor: A piece with serious issues; it may have broken parts, discoloration, missing pieces, markings (pen, marker, etc), a “haircut”, bite marks, or other problems.
Very Poor: Otherwise known as a “bait pony”, a toy that is so damaged that it is a candidate for customization. Missing hair, broken limbs, marking, significant wear, original marks (eyes, cutie mark, etc) that have been rubbed off completely.
It’s important to note that when we’re referring to “factory flaws” that downgrade a pony’s value, we don’t mean things like a pony packaged upside down, or Surprise with blue hair, or Rarity with pegasus wings. Those are factory mistakes that can actually increase the value of your pony, if you find a collector who’s willing to pay more for those oddball pieces. Factory flaws that lower a pony’s value would include things like smudging, paint splatter, improperly rooted hair, eye paint that is slightly out of position, etc.
It’s also important to note that customized ponies do not belong on this scale. The moment you alter a pony in any way, whether with an intent to “restore” it or an intent to “customize” it, it’s no longer an original finish piece. Even something as minor as a dab of paint to touch up a pony’s markings means it is no longer original finish, and cannot be judged on this grading scale any longer. A pony that has been altered in this way should be clearly and permanently marked as “restored” or “customized”, and if you intend to sell it, you should also provide customers with a description of the work that was done to the pony. This is to avoid some unethical seller down the road telling potential buyers that it’s a “rare variant” or “special edition” pony, and ripping off collectors everywhere, both by taking money unfairly and by adding falsehoods to the general knowledge of our hobby.
Whether you’re assessing the worth of your own collection, looking to make a new acquisition, or pricing a pony for sale, it’s important to be aware of the condition of your pieces. Help yourself and the pony community by evaluating ponies carefully and grading them fairly!
Two of my favorite things just smashed into each other faster than a speeding puck at a net: hockey and ponies! Excuse me while I spaz out for a minute over this picture of players from my favorite team, the Pittsburgh Penguins–as ponies!
…ok, I’m back! And you just have to look at My Little Blackhawk: Hockey is Magic, a tumblr that recently surfaced over on Bleacher Report. The artist and author behind the blog takes real life photos of hockey stars and ponifies them for your general amusement. Or maybe it’s for your specific amusement–how many hockey/pony hybrid fans are there out there?
After first being inspired by this year’s Stanley cup-winning Chicago Blackhawks, the author, Ali Lawrence, has begun taking requests for ponies from other hockey teams. Get over there and request your favorite player!
After that article in the Huffington Post about Equestria Girls, a lot of fans (myself included!) were uneasy about the connections that were being made between the dolls and certain undesirable aspects of society…you know, things like early sexualization, poor body image, eating disorders, consumerism, etc. What horrors are these evil dolls leading us to?!
If you’ve gone to a toy store any time recently, though, you’ll realize the answer is “no new ones”.
The Equestria Girls line is actually adopting a lot of features that have become popular across many brands in the last few years. These features include bobbleheads on a lanky frame, giant, anime-esque eyes, wildly rainbow-colored skin and/or hair, trendy outfits, magical or supernatural elements, and non-human body parts. (Think pony ears, cat tails, fairy wings, etc.) Looking at some of these examples, it’s hard to believe young girls will identify these as models for human beings. Let’s take a stroll through the aisles of your local toy store!
The Monster High brand has been talked about a lot recently. They sport all of the traits that have become so popular recently in dolls. “Draculaura” is a vampire based doll, who sports a trendy black and pink outfit, pink and black striped hair (presumably to match her clothes!), oversized head and eyes, an exaggeratedly lanky body, and vampire fangs. She assures us that she is “totes” over picture day, but seems to have nevertheless dressed the part. Hasbro has been accused of copying Monster High with its Equestria Girls line–but are they really? Or are they just coming into line with the trends in their industry? Let’s explore further.
Next to the Monster High doll (literally) we find a Bratzillaz doll, “Sashabella Paws”. The oft-criticized Bratz line is supposed to be another negative influence on young girls, with haughty, makeup-festooned dolls that aggressively seek the latest fashions. The Bratzillaz line seems to be a further response to the popular demand for supernatural themed toys, in the wake of the success enjoyed by Twilight and other tween supernatural romance novels. Notice again the oversized head and eyes on a slightly sturdier frame.
This next doll is really “out there”: a Novi Stars doll known as Tula Toned. These dolls take hold of that desire for something magical or exotic and run with it. Tula is actually an alien, with pink and purple skin, winglike fins, oblong head and ears, blue speckled forehead, unbelievably long eyelashes, and, as her packaging declares, a filling of “cosmic goo”! (I don’t want to know…) These dolls definitely win points for creativity, but they still follow the dominant trends for dolls, right down to their surprisingly earthly fashions.
But what about dolls that are a little less…well…weird? Look no further than LaDeeDa. Here we have “Cyanne as Sunflower Burst”. She’s dressed as a flower, that’s pretty tame, right? Her outfit is a little less catwalk and a little more ballerina, but she still shares a lot in common with the dolls we’ve seen so far. The contrast between her huge bubbly head and her twiggy frame is even more pronounced, and her eyes easily take up half her face, dwarfing her nose and mouth. Her orange hair and pale skin are tones that are at least theoretically possible in human beings, and she doesn’t have any overtly magical or supernatural features.
As we continue to come back down to earth, we see the Moxie Girlz Straight-A Style line, represented here by Avery. Her story is a pretty tame one next to some of the dolls we’ve seen: she goes to school sans supernatural accoutrements, where she (presumably) makes straight A’s in all her classes. Aww, how wholesome! Continuing the girl next door image, her clothes at least resemble something that might not give a parent a heart attack as their child left the house. However, she’s still got some traits in common with our other dolls–can you spot them? She’s still got an oversized head, anime-style eyes, and a stick-frame.
Knowing what we do about the other dolls on the block, let’s revisit our Equestria Girls, represented here by Sunset Shimmer and Twilight Sparkle. Notice anything you didn’t see before? The girls represent all the trends we’ve spotted in dolls so far:
- Hair and skin colors not possible in human beings
- Magical/Supernatural elements (pony ears, magical transformation, travel between worlds)
- Trendy clothes
- Oversized heads
- Big, anime-style eyes
So could it be that with Equestria Girls, Hasbro is just giving its primary audience of young girls something they want? Are they just making toys that are in line with the times and their competitors? You’ve seen the evidence–you decide.
Whether you call her DJ Pon-3 or Vinyl Scratch, she’s finally here! SDCC Exclusive DJ Pon-3 figures are now available on HasbroToyShop.com! This was just announced minutes ago from the official My Little Pony Facebook fan page. But remember, quantities are limited, so don’t be surprised if this one sells out fast. Also, the announcement reminds us that Princess Twilight Sparkle is also available in her own princess-worthy, crystal-encrusted limited edition. Get your hooves on them today!
Side Note: Surprisingly, the description actually refers to DJ Pon-3 as “he” and “him”! Is this a mistake on Hasbro’s part or an attempt to bring something new into cannon? See the quoted description below:
“2013 HasbroToyShop.com Comic-Con Exclusive
This pretty-as-a-picture pony will be the star of your collection! He’s got the same silky hair as the disc jockey star – but this special edition pony figure is decked out for a VIP party. Don’t miss this one-of-a-kind version of your most fabulous pony friend! Delightfully decorative pony figure looks like the DJ Pon-3 character. Prance him around with other pony friends (sold separately) or display him in your collection.
Includes figure. Adult collectible. This is not a toy. My Little Pony and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.”
Get ready, brace your wallets, and…let’s get ready to pre-orderrrrrrr! Ding ding ding! There’s a slew of awesome pony exclusives waiting in the wake of ComiCon, all waiting for their share of your hard-earned cash. Which colorful pony is going to munch on your money first?
Princess Twilight Sparkle Encrusted with Swarovski crystals like her DJ Pon-3 counterpart, this “adult collectible” figure looks like she just might become the centerpiece of your collection. Could this be a hint that other ponies will receive the crystal treatment? Only time will tell–but you only have to wait until August 20th for this pre-order to ship. Keep an eye on HasbroToyShop.com, because additional DJ Pon-3 SDCC figures are supposed to go on sale there soon. Each of them will take $50 out of your pony savings jar.
SDCC Funko Rainbow Dash and Derpy Hooves are each respectively available from Amazon. You may have thought the glitter chase variants were beyond your reach, but they’re available for a reasonable $20 each, and free shipping if you order both (over $25) or have Amazon Prime. Their manes and tails also appear to be sparkly, which is a nice extra touch.
SDCC Toys ‘r’ Us Rainbow Dash as Shadowbolt 20% cooler? Try 200%! This awesome Rainbow Dash figure debuted at ComiCon and promises to be available through the Toys ‘r’ Us website on this page soon. In the meantime, you can sign up for an email to be notified the moment you’re able to get your hooves on the rainbowed wonder. How about that $9.99 price tag? That’s a lot cheaper than the last exclusive in this series. Definitely cool.
My Little Pony Favorite Collection Featuring Queen Chrysallis This TRU exclusive set builds on last year’s success with the Nightmare Moon collection and brings you a slew of fan favorites, including Derpy, Lyra, Cadence, Shining Armor (now with boyish, non-mowhawked hair), Diamond Tiara, and Lyrica. (Uh, who’s Lyrica again?) Seven ponies for only $35 is a great deal. These sets are expected to ship on September 17th, so there’s a bit of a wait, but it looks to be well worth it!
Toys ‘r’ Us Nightmare Moon What could improve upon last year’s “Fan Favorite” Nightmare Moon? How about an 8 inch figure with battery operated light up wings? She comes with a brush and barrettes so you can style her hair…not that you style pony hair or anything, right? It’s ok, your secret’s safe with the Lady in the Moon. She’ll set you back $23 and you’ll also have to wait on that email list to find out when she’ll be available again.
It’s an exciting time to be a pony fan, and a terrifying time to be a wallet! Happy shopping!
More exciting news from SDCC 2013: Season 4 of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is set to include some fan favorites, according to the HUB’s Twitter feed, pictured here. Rarity is guaranteed to have her own episode after fans spent months wondering when we’d finally see her again. Pinkie Pie will be featured in a musical episode, and we’ll also get to meet Pinkie Pie’s sister. Season 4 promises to be filled with song, as we’ll hear “15-20″ new songs, and hear characters singing who have “never sang before”. Does this mean that we’ll hear musical input from fan favorite background ponies?
IDW and Hasbro partnered for a panel discussing their plans for upcoming My Little Pony comics. Big Mac is scheduled to be a strong focus in future issues, and we’ll also see micro-series for the Cutie Mark Crusaders and Spike. There’s also going to be a separate “Equestria Girls” comic, which presumably ties into the 8 page preview in the SDCC exclusive issue #9. IDW seeks to introduce comics to a new generation of readers with “My Little Pony Micro Comic Fun Packs”, which feature “pocket sized” 22 page comics and a packet of goodies, including stickers, posters, and temporary tattoos. Finally, as if all of that weren’t exciting enough, a new My Little Pony art book will go on sale July 29th on the IDW website, so stay tuned for more details!
After choosing the perfect ponies to join your herd, picking out the best accessories, plushies, prints, and customs, and selecting just the right spot to display them, you have a problem. It’s the invisible enemy, the foe of collectibles everywhere. More devious than Discord, more silent than Sombra’s shadow, more prone to multiply than parasprites: DUST.
Collections that are on display are vulnerable to a number of enemies: sunlight, heat, moisture, and dust. It’s important that your ponies be stored or displayed in a cool, dry place that doesn’t receive any direct sunlight. But once you’ve chosen that perfect location to display your herd, there’s still something else you have to do for those needy little pastel ponies: you have to clean them.
“But my ponies are clean,” I hear you saying. “I bought them brand new and they’ve never been played with.”
Dust, however, is an insidious foe. It accumulates slowly, hiding in every nook and cranny of your collection and growling at you from the shadows. When the dust combines with moisture in the air, it transforms into a thick, grimy paste that sticks to your ponies like a bad case of cutie pox.
But fear not! You have weapons in your fight! The best dust removers are those that will attract dust without the risk of grinding any small particles into your ponies and ruining their finish. I personally wipe down each of my ponies with a soft microfiber cloth, which has the advantage of getting into any small areas, such as the inner ears or under the hooves. You want to wipe gently, without applying any pressure, and make sure to be especially careful on any painted or glittery areas, such as eyes and cutie marks.
Microfiber cloths, however, will catch on the manes and tails of ponies. To remove any dust from pony hair, I comb or brush each pony’s hair. Again, you want to be gentle. Unlike your own hair, any strands that are pulled out of your pony’s mane or tail by a brush will not grow back! When in doubt, use a wide-tooth comb, and work in small sections, starting at the ends and working back towards the roots.
agonizing detailed cleaning of each piece in your collection offers you a valuable chance to inspect your ponies for any signs of damage before they become a serious issue. Usually the problems that damage collectibles are caused by improper storage over a long period of time, so handling your collection frequently will help you to spot these issues before they get any worse.
For porcelain ponies, such as “An Affectionate Moment”, featuring Posy and Baby Blossom, pictured here, it can sometimes be difficult to get the dust out of all the little nooks and crannies. A duster such as a Swiffer 360, that is designed to draw dust particles away from hard surfaces, will help. Porcelain in particular activates that nasty “sticky” property of dust over time. If you purchase a piece of porcelain that hasn’t been cleaned in awhile, you may want to soak it in a lukewarm bath with water and dish soap. When I purchased this piece, it was fairly brown. I set up a shallow, narrow tub of soapy water and suspended the piece upside down so that its base, with a label and holes, wouldn’t be exposed to any eeevil water that would damage the sticker or get inside the piece.
When you dust, don’t forget the surface that your ponies stand on! I know, I know, more work! If your ponies are displayed in a case of some kind, you’ll also want to wipe down the walls and doors of the case, which will still accumulate dust even if you leave the door closed. While cleaning your collection, you can’t neglect the area surrounding it, because dust spreads from one area to the next. Work from top to bottom–highest shelves to lowest–so that you don’t ruin your work on one shelf as you move to the next. That would be a serious drag, man. Totally not rad. Worse than hearing expressions that were outdated in 1995.
Now, the question on your mind probably is, “How often do I have to dust my collection?” If your collectibles are on display, you should dust them once a week. If they’re in storage, you should check them every 1-2 months to make sure that they’re clean and not having any issues from how they’re stacked or boxed. I can hear you now. What am I, the Clean Police? This may sound like a lot, but it’s all part of keeping your collection beautiful, and helping it hold its value for many years to come. Your ponies will thank you for every minute you spend caring for them!
The HUB booth at SDCC is having a “vote for your favorite pony” poll at their booth at SDCC. They’ve promised that the fan favorite will be revealed on September 1st–the same day as the “Equestria Girls” TV premiere and likely as part of that TV event. It’s just another reason to schedule your viewing party now!
Princess Twilight Sparkle has shown up in her own limited edition figure. Like the DJ Pon-3 figure, she’s labelled as “Adult Collectible: This is not a toy”, and she’s got her own Swarvoski crystals in purple and pink hues on her new wings. She has a separate, glittering tiara, and glitter markings in gold on her forehead, chest, and hooves. According to a tag in the display case, she’ll be on sale in August 2013 for $49.95 on HasbroToyShop.com. This is a really exciting development. With two limited edition ponies going on sale after SDCC, can we expect future ponies in the series from Hasbro?
Hasbro announced its plans for SDCC 2013 in a press release this week. For pony fans lucky enough to go, they’re giving out tickets to a special screening of “My Little Pony: Equestria Girls”, hair extensions, and “cutie marks” (presumably they mean stickers? Rub on tattoos?). For those of us not lucky enough to attend the San Diego Comicon to see the movie in person, there will be a special TV premiere event for “Equestria Girls” on September 1st at 12pm EST. The premiere will also feature a sneak peek of season 4 of “Friendship is Magic”, so plan your viewing parties now!
Next up, the figure on everypony’s mind, the Hasbro MLP Fair/SDCC 2013 exclusive figure: DJ Pon-3, known to fans as Vinyl Scratch. Taking a cue from the successful Funko line, she has molded hair with streaks of glitter throughout her mane and tail, as well as glitter on her legs. (They look like funky Disco ball boots!) She has Swarovski crystals on her horn and glasses, so she’s all prettied up for her next gig. Even the box lights up! Does all of that justify the $49.99 retail price? Only you can decide. According to the press release, a “limited number” of DJ Pon-3 figures will be available on the Hasbro site after the comicon ends. Pro-tip for collectors: if the DJ Pon-3 figures aren’t numbered, Hasbro is free to keep printing them for so long as they continue to sell, which could drive down their value on the secondary market.
Speaking of exclusive figures, Funko’s SDCC exclusive figures for MLP are two glitter chase variants: Rainbow Dash and Derpy Hooves. This is rather unsurprising given that these two figures were released without glitter variants originally. With the success of the Fluttershy and Doctor Hooves variants, we can probably expect generous amounts of glitter for all the remaining ponies in the series. How do you make Rainbow Dash 20% cooler than she already is? By making a glitter Rainbow Dash, of course! Chances are, if you’re already collecting the Funko line, you’ll be interested in these figures, and if you’re not, well, you’re probably not reading this blog! They’re still the best option for show-accurate pony figures, even if they do come with their share of factory flaws.
If you need still MORE SDCC exclusives, check out issue #9 of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. The comcion exclusive variant features a glitter alternate cover (again with the glitter!) with DJ Pon-3/Vinyl Scratch and 8 pages of “never before seen material” that provide a prequel to the film “Equestria Girls”. Standard versions of issue 9 will be available, of course, but without the exclusive content, without the Vinyl Scratch cover, and without the glitter! Who would want to miss out on their glitter? Better get your hooves on a copy of your very own.